Tuesday, 2 September 2014
The Wales Coast Path is a fantastic walking route and it deserves to have first class published guides to attract walkers to the path, to enable them to plan their journey and then to find their way along the route. The first of a set of 7 official guides to the Wales Coast Path has now been published by Northern Eye books. It covers the Llyn Peninsula from Bangor to Porthmadog. It sells at an affordable £12.99 and it is lavishly illustrated with gorgeous photos and 1:50,000 maps. It carries very readable introductions to the history of Llyn and details of its wildlife. It contains information about the whole Wales Coast Path and shows walkers where to go for information on tides and detours and maps. There is no waffle and I have come across virtually nothing that should not have been there.
However, it has to be said that the signage along the path is a long way from being adequate and it is essential that a walker purchase a 1:25,000 map to accompany this booklet. It is also worth noting that the Llyn can be remote and facilities, public transport and accommodation are hard to find. These things are treated almost as a footnote in the book where they should be centre stage. I could stand accused of talking up our own business, but we are constantly coming across walkers who are lost and unable to find food or a bed, and we would still advise walkers to book their journey through an established walking holiday company such as the Edge of Wales Walk. In our view there should also be more details about how tough certain sections of the path really are.
As for the level of detail about information on places of interest along the path there is always a balance to be struck between too little and too much, and this is a hard judgement. Because we are locals to the Llyn we would consider that many things of interest have been omitted. If you take as an example the 20km stretch from Porth Colmon to Aberdaron, I would consider the 2 cafes near Mynydd Mawr, the contact number for the Bardsey Boat, the wreck of the whisky ship near Porth Ty Mawr, the story of Carreg, the story of the Porth y Pistyll Quarry, St Mary's Church or the remains of the Pier at Porth Simdde to be indispensable information for anyone actually completing the path. However this was not our call and on balance the authors have produced an excellent book which does justice to this jewel in the crown of the Wales Coast Path and we look forward to the other books in the series.